Mystical theology is defined to be an union of the soul with God—so intimate, that her essence is, in a manner, transformed into the essence of God, and, in consequence of it, she beholds him, not intuitively, as he is seen by the blessed in Heaven, but, in a divine light; and she believes in him, hopes in him, and loves him, not by particular or discursive acts, but in silent affection and adoration… But for passage into it, the most heroic exertions and sacrifices are necessary. The soul must completely die to the world and herself and obtain a complete victory over all that draws, or even has a remote tendency to draw her from God…. Surrounded by the light and power of divine love, she lives, and feels, and moves in God alone.
– from On Mystical Theology or the Sciene of Sacred Contemplation by Charles Butler.
Charles Butler (1750-1832) was an English lawyer and Catholic writer who, as the nephew of Alban Butler, edited and completed his uncle’s Lives of the Saints. Born in London, Butler entered the legal profession in 1769 and found patronage with an English lord but withdrew from public life to concentrate on redressing injustices done to Catholics at the time. He was also a co-founder of the Cisalpine Club, an English Catholic organization which sought to ameliorate social and political conditions for Catholics while respectfully resisting interference from the ecclesiastical authorities in Rome.